- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 5, 2004

Diplomatic visit entirely ‘normal’

On April 26, the Washington Times published an article written by Bill Gertz titled “Chinese diplomats rush past lab guards” (Page 1), wrongly accusing two consuls from the consulate general of the People’s Republic of China in Los Angeles of engaging in intelligence-gathering activities in New Mexico.

The fact is that the two consuls went to New Mexico to conduct their official diplomatic duties. They were there to meet Rich Homans, secretary of the state Department of Economic Development, and Dr. K.A. Namkung, senior adviser to Gov. Bill Richardson, in preparation for the governor’s proposed visit to China. The trip was arranged through the state government of New Mexico, and the U.S. side knew about the trip beforehand.

As for the two consuls’ visit to the Bradbury Science Museum in Los Alamos, it was nothing different from a normal tourist visit; this museum is open to the general public.

It is immoral to distort the fact that the two consuls went to New Mexico to enhance relationships between China and New Mexico and that their visit to the Bradbury Science Museum was nothing but an open visit.



I have to point out that while China-U.S. relations have continued to improve during recent years and the understanding between the Chinese and American peoples continues to deepen, there always have been some people who have not been happy to see the improvement of relations between China and the United States. They always find ways to bring damage to this important relationship.

Let me make it clear that this kind of unfriendly attitude of some people will not deter Chinese diplomats in the United States from continuing to make efforts to enhance the relations between China and the United States, and it will never be able to reverse the trend of steady development of China-U.S. relations.

XIAOMEI ZHOU

Consul for press affairs

Consulate general

People’s Republic of China

Los Angeles

Commuters beware

Tarron Lively’s Page One article “Where the spy cameras clean up” (Friday) struck a cord. I have been commuting to the District from Maryland for nearly 23 years and have never gotten a speeding ticket in the District. That record was broken when I received a citation for exceeding the 40 mph limit in the 2800 block of New York Avenue NE — a six-lane road with no signals that leads directly into the Baltimore-Washington Parkway. Virtually no one goes 40 mph. Indeed, it usually is unsafe to do so. The citation showed a photo of my car, the clocked speed and a fine of $100. If not paid on time, the fine would double. Not even the mob charges such late fees.

Issuing 13,200 speeding citations in the 2800 block in one month, mostly to Maryland commuters, is bound to generate disrespect for such a blatant revenue-maximizing measure. Cameras should be used, if at all, to catch reckless drivers who endanger others. Perhaps then we would all have more respect for the law.

JAMES A. DORN

Lutherville, Md.

Cleland should know better

In all due respect to former Democratic Sen. and Vietnam veteran Max Cleland, calling Rep. Sam Johnson a member of a “bunch of chicken hawks who never went to war, never felt a wound” was a stupid, ignorant and thoughtless remark (“Chicken hawks?” Inside the Beltway, Nation, April 27).

Mr. Johnson served honorably in the Air Force for 29 years, flew 62 combat missions in Korea and 25 over North Vietnam. He was shot down in combat over North Vietnam and was a prisoner of war for 6 years, with almost four years in solitary confinement, brutally tortured by the North Vietnamese Communists. Mr. Cleland, on the other hand, was grievously wounded in a non-combat-related grenade accident. Mr. Cleland, you owe Mr. Johnson your humblest apology.

Mr. Cleland’s angry and partisan attack on Mr. Johnson was unconscionable, and one can only assume it was an attempt to defend the indefensible Sen. John F. Kerry, who gave aid and comfort to the enemy while Mr. Johnson and the rest of the POWs were suffering extreme hardships and torture by the Vietnamese communists. Meanwhile, in the comforts of Washington, Mr. Kerry was marching in lockstep with Communist sympathizers. While he was spokesman for the activist-turned-radical Vietnam Veterans Against the War, Mr. Kerry gave false testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, accusing Vietnam veterans and those still fighting in Vietnam of “war crimes … with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command.” Mr. Kerry based some of his testimony on fabrications by some of his unholy “Winter Soldier band of brothers” in the VVAW, many of whom had not even been in the armed services, served in Vietnam or ever been in combat, as the Naval Investigative Service later confirmed.

SGT. MICHAEL BENGE

Marine Corps (retired)

Foreign Service officer

Vietnam POW 1968-1973

Falls Church

One gun at a time

The article “Ban sought on .50-caliber rifles” (Nation, Tuesday) illustrates the desperation of gun-ban supporters and bill sponsor Rep. James P. Moran, Virginia Democrat.

His bill would ban the sale of “.50-caliber sniper rifles” to “hunters and sportsmen” because the guns are “less regulated than handguns” and are “accurate at 2,000 yards.” He ignores the realities that, as with handguns, all purchasers of new .50-caliber rifles must pass an FBI check and that .30-caliber hunting bullets also can shoot 2,000 yards.

Yes, .50-caliber bullets may penetrate armor just like a .30-caliber hunting bullet, the difference being that the .50-caliber bullet makes a 1-inch hole while the .30-caliber hunting bullet makes a ⅓-inch hole. Their next step is to try again to outlaw hunting ammunition.

The Violence Policy Center cites “virtually unregulated sale of these antiarmor guns,” choosing conveniently not to take credit for enactment of their Brady Act, which requires FBI clearance for all new gun purchases, including handguns, hunting and target guns and .50-caliber rifles. Those single-shot .50-caliber rifles, by the way, are four-feet long, can weigh 25 pounds and cost $6,500.

The gun-ban supporters would outlaw one class of gun at a time with do-gooder schemes as they seek to satisfy their misguided sense of justice.

EDWARD T. STEVENSON

Arlington

Before we worry ourselves silly over Rep. James P. Moran’s misplaced concerns, let’s be intellectually honest and consider this in detail.

First, .50-caliber rifles (and larger calibers, too) have been in civilian ownership since the times of the founders of the republic, they were used extensively during the 1800s for long-range hunting, Theodore Roosevelt used them circa 1900 and the present ammo cartridge took shape about the time of World War I. Thus, the implication that these rifles have just appeared and that they thus constitute a clear and present danger is inaccurate.

Both Mr. Moran and Tom Diaz of the notoriously anti-gun Violence Policy Center express fear about these rifles falling into the wrong hands. Let’s do away with the open-borders insanity and we won’t have to worry about “wrong hands.” The continued welcome to people inclined to fly airplanes into buildings or to engage in acts of bioterrorism transcends any threat, real or imaginary, that any rifle may pose.

Conspicuously absent in this dishonorable enterprise is any recognition of the Second Amendment. Which part of the Bill of Rights did Mr. Moran swear to uphold when he put his hand on the Bible at some earlier point in his career?

When feigning mere concern about our safety from terrorism as an expedient pretext to ban various classes of firearms, a person with such un-American “baggage” is no better than a burglar who dons the outfit of an electric-utility worker to gain access into our homes.

JAMES J. JENTES

Dingmans Ferry, Pa.

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